In final four loss, Rutgers men’s lacrosse is eyeing a bright future

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There is definitely a sense of an upward trajectory for the Rutgers men’s lacrosse program, even after Saturday’s loss to Cornell in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.

There is a lot to be said about this past season, where the Scarlet Knights made their first appearance in championship weekend and had a number of impressive wins. Under head coach Brian Brecht, the Scarlet Knights took another step forward as a program.

They finished the season 15-4 with a 4-1 record in Big Ten play. They made the Big Ten Tournament’s championship game and beat two ranked teams in the NCAA Tournament.

The sense of optimism surrounding the program also extends to the fanbase. The NCAA Tournament opening round against Harvard saw Rutgers draw the largest crowd of the weekend to Yurcak Field.

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It was a year where the senior-laden program established the potential for this program moving forward. In what is arguably the richest-recruiting turf in the country when it comes to lacrosse, Rutgers is well situated to reload with more talent via the transfer portal and traditional high school recruiting.

“I’m going to remember this year as the best year of my life. We’ve accomplished a lot,” senior captain Ryan Gallagher said after the game.

“In moments like this, you can forget what you’ve accomplished over the whole season. I think we’ve set a new bar for the program that our team can get back to this weekend again. I’m thankful to be a part of it.”

Rutgers was one of two Big Ten lacrosse programs to make the tournament. On Monday, Maryland beat Cornell to cap-off an 18-0 regular season that might go down as the best season in collegiate lacrosse history.

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Maryland beat Rutgers once in the regular season and then again in the Big Ten’s championship game. Rutgers other regular-season loss came to Princeton, who lost to Maryland in the other semifinal of the NCAA Tournament.